Category Archives: NFL

The Decline of the Houston Texans and Why We Should’ve Seen It Coming

By Breven Miller

June 9, 2021

Breven is a third-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. Originally from Jackson Township, Ohio, Breven is a Sport Management major with a minor in Journalism. His interests lie in all sport, but he has a particular passion for football and soccer.

The Houston Texans were a team poised to win for years to come, boasting a core of talented players that they could build around to make a legitimately great roster.

Now they’re in complete disarray. 

Let’s go back to late 2013 for a minute. The Texans had just finished one of the worst, if not the worst, season in the team’s history, going 2-14. They fired head coach Gary Kubiak mid-season, and interim head coach Wade Phillips wasn’t able to do much more than Kubiak (“Houston Texans franchise,” 2021) .

Changes needed to be made, and indeed change happened. In January 2014, the Texans announced Bill O’Brien as their next head coach. O’Brien was coming off of his second year at Penn State, where he led Penn State to a 7-5 record as their head coach. Before that, he started his NFL career in New England as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator during the 2011 season (Bill O’Brien, 2021). 

Despite this apparent lack of experience, O’Brien did quite well in his first two seasons with the team. He made a 2-14 team into a 9-7 team for two consecutive seasons. Let’s not forget though that this was a team that still had Arian Foster, JJ Watt, Andre Johnson, and DeAndre Hopkins under contract. It’s not like O’Brien really solved the main problem in Houston either: They desperately needed a franchise quarterback.

Houston parted ways with Matt Schaub, their previous “franchise” quarterback, after the aforementioned 2-14 season. In O’Brien’s first two seasons, six quarterbacks started at least one game: Ryan Fitzpatrick (12 games), Brian Hoyer (9 games), Ryan Mallett (6 games), Case Keenum (2 games), T.J. Yates (2 games), and Brandon Weeden (1 game). That’s not the most inspiring list of names, but the results were okay (“Houston Texans franchise,” 2021). 

In the 2015 season, the Texans somehow made the playoffs, despite their aforementioned 9-7 record. They won the AFC South though, meaning they won the right to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild card round. These weren’t the same Chiefs we see today, but they were still far better than the Texans, winning 30-0 (“Houston Texans franchise,” 2021) .

Somehow though, starting four quarterbacks in one season wasn’t enough of a low point for the Texans. Enter Brock Osweiler.

The offseason preceding the 2016 season saw one of the most infamous transactions in Texans (and maybe NFL) history happen. For $72 million, the Texans gained the services of quarterback Brock Osweiler for four years. Osweiler had just stepped in as the backup to Peyton Manning for a little more than seven games in Denver and led the Broncos to the playoffs in 2015. He even won Super Bowl 50, but he was on the bench while Manning returned from injury and worked his magic (Chassen, 2016). Despite Osweiler’s lack of experience, the Texans surely thought their quarterback woes would finally end. They couldn’t have been more wrong. 

Osweiler failed to impress in his first season with Houston. He only threw 15 touchdown passes while throwing 16 interceptions. The offense ranked 28th in the NFL for points scored and 29th for yardage gained.

The team again made the playoffs that season, but only because of their stellar defense. In fact, they even won a playoff game that season! However, they beat an Oakland Raiders team who had seen their franchise quarterback, Derek Carr, get injured late in the season. The Raiders were forced to start Connor Cook instead, who threw three interceptions en route to a 27-14 Oakland loss. Houston was put in their place the following week when they were humbled by the New England Patriots, 34-16 (“Houston Texans franchise,” 2021) .

That game against the Patriots would prove to be Osweiler’s last game in Houston. In the offseason, Osweiler was traded to the Cleveland Browns in what amounted to a salary dump deal for the Texans. Houston gave away Osweiler, a 2017 sixth-round pick, and a 2018 second-round pick for the Browns’ 2017 fourth-round pick (Schefter, 2017).

The Osweiler deal also set up another franchise-altering move for the Texans. They gave the Browns their 2018 first-round pick to move up in the 2017 draft and select Deshaun Watson (Brinson, 2017). 

That seemed to be the beginning of the “win-now” mentality for the Texans. They were trading away draft capital quickly and therefore needed to win since they weren’t going to be able to acquire reliable young talent in the near future. Winning didn’t happen much in 2017 though. To be fair, their 4-12 record in this season was wholly a result of Watson’s ACL tearing in practice midseason. Watson went 3-3 over the first six weeks of the 2017 season, while the combination of Tom Savage and T.J. Yates won one game between them in weeks 8-17 (“Houston Texans franchise,” 2021) .

The worst part about the losing season for the Texans though was that they wouldn’t get to take advantage of it. Usually when a team loses their quarterback or another key player that early in a season, they’re able to look to the draft and use their bad season to improve a likely already good roster. However, the Texans traded away their 2018 first and second-round picks. They would go into the 2018 season with largely the same squad as the year before.

The following are the two best years of Bill O’Brien’s tenure as the Houston Texans’ head coach. The 2018 team was probably the best team O’Brien had while in charge. The defense forced the second-most turnovers in the league and the offense wasn’t bad, ranking 11th in points scored and 15th in yardage. Even with this team, which boasted six Pro Bowlers, the Texans couldn’t make it past the wild card round. Even worse, they lost to their division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts (“Houston Texans franchise,” 2021). 

It was after this season that more change was sought within the Texans organization. General Manager Brian Gaine was fired in June 2019 and his duties for the 2019-20 season were performed by Bill O’Brien, who was later officially named general manager (Starr, 2020). At this moment, alarm bells should’ve started ringing. However, the mood stayed positive surrounding the Texans. In fairness, the media was still fawning over Watson, who was now clearly the future of the franchise, and optimistic about the rest of the Texans’ squad. In a video from the summer of 2019, Chris Simms of NBC Sports spoke highly of the Texans, saying that the only hesitancy for him when it came to predicting their possible success was how tough their division was (NBC Sports, 2019). And truthfully, Simms and others weren’t inherently wrong in saying things like this. But a wrong move at the general manager position can cost a team everything, and that’s why more attention should have been given to this topic. 

In 2019, the Texans, yet again, made the playoffs, though this season the defense dropped off. They went from 4th in points allowed in 2018 to 19th in 2019, and from 12th in yards allowed to 28th. As a result, they were able to beat the offensively-challenged Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs, before blowing an enormous 24-0 lead to the Kansas City Chiefs, who never looked back after scoring 28 unanswered points in the second quarter (“Houston Texans franchise,” 2021) .

The 2019 season won’t be remembered for Houston’s performance on the field, though. It will be remembered largely for the trades made by new GM Bill O’Brien. He started by trading away 2014 #1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. The South Carolina stud was injury-prone throughout his first few years in Houston but picked up form once he was healthy. Clowney had been to three straight Pro Bowls before being traded, but he and the Texans couldn’t agree on a contract extension. He was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for Jacob Martin, Barkevious Mingo, and a 2020 third-round pick that was traded for Gareon Conley (Weston, 2020). Those three players have started a combined eight games for the Texans, and Mingo now plays for the Chicago Bears. 

Somehow, this wasn’t even the worst trade the Texans made around this time. It was clear that Deshaun Watson needed some better pass protection, so O’Brien went looking for a new left tackle. He found Laremy Tunsil in his search, who was playing for the Miami Dolphins at the time. O’Brien decided to trade for Tunsil in a deal that looked like this (Kasabian, 2019):

Houston receives: OT Laremy Tunsil, WR Kenny Stills, 2020 fourth-round pick, 2021 sixth-round pick.

Miami receives: CB Johnson Bademosi, OT Julie’n Davenport, 2020 first-round pick, 2021 first-round pick, 2021 second-round pick.

The players in this deal aren’t what’s concerning. Tunsil is a quality tackle and has done well for the Texans, while Stills, Bademosi, and Davenport have all failed to make a really significant impact for their new teams (Bademosi now plays in New Orleans). What’s bothersome in this deal is the lost draft capital. Houston lost three very high value picks for two low value picks and a good left tackle. This move screams “win-now”, and even at that it’s reckless at best. That doesn’t apply to the next trade, which happened prior to the 2020 season. The best word for that one might be something along the lines of franchise-damning. 

The Houston Texans had put themselves into “draft hell,” lacking a pick in 2020 that landed within the top 50. Bill O’Brien realized this but dealt with the problem in quite possibly the worst way possible. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who led the team in receiving yards from 2014 to 2019, was traded in March 2020 to the Arizona Cardinals. The deal went as follows (Rapp, 2020):

Arizona receives: WR DeAndre Hopkins, 2020 fourth-round pick.

Houston receives: RB David Johnson, 2020 second-round pick, 2021 fourth-round pick.

If the alarm bells aren’t ringing by now, something’s gone haywire. Let’s establish that DeAndre Hopkins was (and still is) one of the best, if not the best, wide receiver in the NFL at this point. For the sake of this examination, we’ll say the fourth-round picks cancel each other out, so Hopkins was traded for an injury-prone, out of favor running back and a second-round pick. Most people would say this was a terrible deal for the Texans, and yet the media weren’t thinking that a drop in form was on the cards. In the words of NBC Sports’ Mike Florio, “I think they’re building something, I think (Watson) is getting better every year, I think (Watson) is being overlooked, I think the Texans, even though they keep finding a way to get back to the playoffs, continue to be overlooked,” (NBC Sports, 2020). Deshaun Watson would carry the squad and everything would be alright, right? Well, not quite.

The 2020 season was the culmination of years of bad trades, bad signings, and overall ineptitude by whomever was running the Houston Texans, be it Bill O’Brien or someone else. The 2020 Texans went 4-12, this time with a full season of Deshaun Watson. 2020 saw the end of the Bill O’Brien era, as he was fired from both his head coach and general manager roles in October (Shook, 2020). Romeo Crennell took over the head coaching position and the GM role remained vacant until the following offseason. The David Johnson project didn’t work, as the Texans ranked 32nd out of 32 teams in both rushing yards and yards per carry (“Houston Texans franchise,” 2021) . But even this was only the beginning of the inevitable end. 

After the dismal 2020 season, a video circulated around the NFL world that only added to the negativity surrounding the Texans. It wasn’t known then, but it would seemingly be the last clip we saw of Houston legend JJ Watt in a Texans jersey. 

Watt approached the front office after the season and expressed his interest in leaving the organization. The Texans obliged, releasing Watt and allowing him to explore the free agent market. Trading Watt would have been harsh, but surely if you’re an organization who traded away DeAndre Hopkins, you fashion a trade for Watt. This seems like a particularly puzzling move given that Houston is still in the aforementioned “draft hell”, as they are without their first round pick for the 2021 draft. The lack of draft picks wouldn’t be a massive issue if the Texans weren’t now rebuilding. And it certainly would be a much smaller issue if Deshaun Watson wanted to stay with the Texans. 

In a final gut punch to end the Bill O’Brien era, the firing of O’Brien led to the hiring of Nick Caserio, who had previously been tipped for the job before O’Brien was initially hired. Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who realistically is all the franchise has left at this point, was and is unhappy with the hire and now wants out. Watson’s wish to be traded or released has not yet been granted, with the Texans adamant that Watson will not only remain with the organization but will play as well. Watson has no intention of doing either of these things and is apparently willing to sit out games if he stays in Houston (Holleran, 2021). 

So now the Texans find themselves at the point of no return. They either accept their inevitable rebuild now, taking an NFL record $51.2 million cap hit while gaining invaluable draft capital by trading Watson, or they keep themselves in purgatory, unable to fully rebuild via the draft while holding onto an asset that will very likely yield no returns. And all the while, the warning signs were there. Signing Brock Osweiler for $72 million and dumping his salary the next offseason (while losing draft capital), appointing the head coach who has no experience as an executive to be the general manager of the franchise, trading two first-round picks and a second-round pick for what amounted to one impactful player, and trading one of the best wide receivers in recent memory for pennies on the dollar. Houston had all of these instances of misused assets and overall mismanagement, and yet the media were too caught up in the brilliance of the Texans’ stars to care. The Houston Texans seemed to go from hero to zero in the blink of an eye. In reality, we should’ve seen this coming a long time ago. 

References

Barkevious Mingo stats. (2021). Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/M/MingBa00.htm

Bill O’Brien record, statistics, and category ranks. (2021). Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/coaches/OBriBi0.htm

Brinson, W. (2017, April 28). Browns own Texans’ first and second-round picks in 2018 after Deshaun Watson trade. CBS Sports. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/browns-own-texans-first-and-second-picks-in-2018-after-deshaun-watson-trade/

Chassen, A. (2016, March 09). Brock Osweiler signs $72 million deal with Texans. SB Nation. https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2016/3/9/11143754/brock-osweiler-signing-free-agent-texans-broncos

Gareon Conley stats. (2021). Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/ConlGa00.htm

Holleran, A. (2021, March 1). Deshaun Watson is reportedly considering a drastic move. The Spun. https://thespun.com/nfl/afc-south/houston-texans/deshaun-watson-sit-out-games-texans

Houston Texans Team Encyclopedia. (2021). Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/htx/index.htm

Jacob Martin stats. (2021). Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/M/MartJa02.htm

Johnson Bademosi stats. (2021). Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BadeJo00.htm

Julie’n Davenport stats. (2021). Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/D/DaveJu00.htm

Kasabian, P. (2019, September 01). Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills traded to Texans for 2 1st-round picks, more. Bleacher Report. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2851360-laremy-tunsil-kenny-stills-reportedly-traded-to-texans-for-huge-haul-of-picks

Kenny Stills stats. (2021). Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/StilKe00.htm

NBC Sports. (2019, June 27). PFT Top 30 Storylines: Can Houston Texans win in playoffs? | Pro Football Talk | NBC Sports[Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3JoWTfxEcs&list=PLXEMPXZ3PY1jmuyphRJnUBL1S9RD8mQNY&index=3577

NBC Sports. (2020, June 25). PFT Draft: Next QB to get first Super Bowl ring? | Pro Football Talk | NBC Sports[Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y35YAsoMmqQ&list=PLXEMPXZ3PY1jmuyphRJnUBL1S9RD8mQNY&index=1974

NFL Films [@NFLFilms]. (2021, January 5). “I’m sorry, we wasted one of your years.” Watt to Watson after a tough season[Tweet; video]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/nflfilms/status/1346506627239845888?lang=en

Rapp, T. (2020, March 16). Report: Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins over contract; O’Brien, WR had friction. Bleacher Report. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2881274-report-texans-traded-deandre-hopkins-to-avoid-restructuring-contract

Schefter, A. (2017, March 09). Texans trade Brock Osweiler, 2018 second-round pick to Browns. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/18865517/houston-texans-trade-brock-osweiler-2018-second-round-pick-cleveland-browns

Shook, N. (2020, October 06). Texans fire Bill O’Brien as general manager, head coach. NFL.com. https://www.nfl.com/news/texans-fire-bill-o-brien-as-general-manager-head-coach

Starr, P. D. (2020, January 28). Bill O’Brien named the general manager of the Houston Texans. Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/nfl/texans/news/bill-obrien-named-the-general-manager-of-the-houston-texans

Weston, M. (2020, May 15). BRB groupthink: Revisiting the Jadeveon Clowney trade. SB Nation. https://www.battleredblog.com/2020/5/15/21260199/brb-groupthink-revisiting-the-jadeveon-clowney-trade

Dak Prescott and the battle for players’ rights

By Griffin Olah

Griffin is a third-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

October 24, 2020

On Sunday, October 11 against the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys quarterback (QB) Dak Prescott ran a QB draw. Prescott had run many plays similar to this one throughout his career from high school, to college at Mississippi State and finally as the Dallas Cowboys’ franchise QB. This third quarter draw, though, was different.

Prescott ran up the middle, made a defender miss, and bolted towards the left sideline. There, Giants defender Logan Ryan was ready to make a play. Prescott attempted to stiff arm the oncoming defender, but Ryan was able to hold on and make a crucial open-field tackle within the red zone with the Cowboys looking to go up by two scores. During that tackle, though, Prescott’s ankle was caught underneath the players as they tumbled to the ground. Ryan stood up, ready for the next play, but Prescott looked to his ankle and found it pointing at an unnatural angle. He had a serious injury.

Immediately, players and coaches knew what was wrong. Mike McCarthy, the first year Cowboys head coach and longtime Green Bay Packers headman, came out onto the field. Teammates and opponents also came to see if the star of the franchise defined by stars was okay. He was not. An emotional Prescott was helped onto a cart and taken to the locker room. Immediately, he was sent to a hospital for surgery on the ankle. The Cowboys team Twitter account announced that Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, an injury that has a 4-6 month recovery at the very least (Archer, 2020)

As soon as the news reached players across the league, they sent out their best wishes to the injured QB on social media. Stars across the game, such as Patrick Mahomes and J.J. Watt, wished the star a speedy recovery. Media members like Emmanuel Acho and Troy Aikman applauded Prescott and how he handled his injury. Even former Dallas Cowboys coach and current New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett made sure to wish Prescott well as he was carted off on the field (Blackburn, 2020).

Unfortunately, a violent game like NFL football is sure to cause injuries for its players. Nobody can argue that Prescott’s injury wasn’t horrible. Yet, the responses haven’t been the best, especially considering the person Dak Prescott is.

Before getting into the reaction, it’s important to understand Dak Prescott’s offseason path. In April, amid the pandemic and a lack of offseason programs that usually fill professional football players’ free time, the Prescott family was struck by tragedy. Dak’s older brother, Jace, died by suicide. In the time afterwards and during his grieving process, Prescott had an interview with Graham Bersinger about his brother’s death. In that interview, Prescott confirmed that Jace’s death was by suicide and that Dak also suffered from anxiety and depression in the wake of the pandemic and his brother’s death (Watkins, 2020). Prescott’s confession shook the world. How could someone that seemed to be so happy, so carefree and so fun suffer from depression?

Prescott’s strength was applauded by many after disclosing his struggles with mental health. Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst, whose own struggles with depression are well-documented, made sure to meet the QB after their teams had a game and express his respect for Prescott’s courage (Al-Khateeb, 2020). For every good story, like Hurst’s, there is a bad one. As Hayden Hurst was supporting Prescott, FOX Sports analyst Skip Bayless was tearing him down. On Undisputed, Bayless called Prescott’s admission weak, stating that “If you reveal publicly any little weakness, it can affect your team’s ability to believe in you in the toughest spot” (Bonesteel, 2020, para. 8). Immediately, athletes, media members and fans alike rushed to Prescott’s support. Bayless was torn down, just like he attempted to tear down an important, brave and courageous act by a well-known athlete to pull back the curtain on mental health. Bayless attempted to walk back his comments, but his “opinion” remains a stain on Prescott’s already trying offseason.

In addition to the loss of his brother and the debacle with Skip Bayless, Prescott was in the middle of tense contract negotiations with the Cowboys. Prescott decided to play the 2020 season under the franchise tag after he determined the Cowboys’ offer of a 5-year deal with an annual value of $34.5 million and over $100 million of that guaranteed (Archer, 2020). Prescott believed he was worth more than the Cowboys were offering, and he decided to play the 2020 season under the franchise tag. Fans across the nation, especially Cowboys fans, were taken aback by the QB’s decision. How could Prescott leave millions of dollars at the table like that? Or, for those wanting Prescott to stay with the ‘Boys, how much will those millions of dollars Prescott wants that Jerry Jones refuses to give him matter?

Now, though, Prescott’s injury puts a new discussion on the table. Dak bet on himself, and whether you agree with that or not, it has consequences now as his franchise tag will expire before he plays another game. Fans and media members alike have been asking if Prescott turning down a long-term contract was a bad idea or not, and the truth is we won’t know until Prescott returns (Brandt, 2020). 

Prescott’s contract is not what the media is focusing on now, though. That’s reserved for “the worst people on Twitter” to look at (Barnwell, 2020, para. 18). Instead, the shock of the injury is all the media can focus on, and rightfully so. Injuries like Prescott’s – seen in Alex Smith, Gordon Hayward and Kevin Ware – have always captivated the media. You’d have to go back to Joe Theismann and Lawrence Taylor’s infamous hit on him to see a true franchise quarterback go down like this. No offense to Alex Smith. 

Immediately after Prescott was taken off the field, the NFL’s YouTube channel posted a video of the injury. The NFL’s YouTube channel is a site filled with highlights, fantasy videos and commercials showing the all-time greats in a ballroom for the 100th anniversary of the league. While Prescott’s injury is something that most likely would be covered there, and for good reason, anything that happens to one of the faces of the league should be covered by the league’s media outlets. But, labelling it as a “Can’t Miss Play” on the thumbnail is something the league seriously missed on (Heyen, 2020, para. 1). Something about a franchise quarterback and star of the league being carted off in tears isn’t a “can’t miss play” to me (Heyen, 2020, para.1) The League, always committed to protecting the shield, was called out on social media by The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman for their labelling of the grotesque injury. 

Shortly after the social media firestorm that followed Sherman’s tweet, the NFL deleted the video (Heyen, 2020). As Sherman pointed out, someone would post the video and it would go viral. But why did the official NFL YouTube account feel the need to do that? To profit off of the injury of Dak Prescott? The NFL in 2015 struck a “multi-million dollar deal” with YouTube and Google to post official highlights on the platform (McSpadden, 2015, para. 4). In addition to that, YouTube accounts in 2013 earned an average of $7.60 per 1000 views on their videos, with that number only increasing as the popularity of the platform increases (Rosenberg, 2020). The fact that the NFL was actively profiting off of their star’s injury is horrible, and if that’s how they treat a face of the league like Dak Prescott, how would they treat a lesser-known player?

The media covering the league is not sterling clean either. Well-respected analyst and Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy fell into hot water after saying that Dak’s injury could be a “blessing in disguise” for the Cowboys (Heck, 2020, para. 4). While Dungy attempted to walk back his comments on Twitter after the blowback, the damage was done. 

If someone covering the NFL can call an injury a “blessing,” what else can they do? While most can agree that Dungy is a well-respected and high-character person, he made a mistake here. That can explain why he faced much less of a blowback than Skip Bayless, although their comments are on equal levels. Without social media to hold these analysts and accounts liable for their slander on one of the most respected players in the game, Dak Prescott’s name could be further dragged through the mud.

Everything that happened to Prescott was horrible, but something could come out of this to help it all. Prescott’s battle with the media and his dedication to himself can inspire players to follow his example. Sure, there has been negative publicity and coverage on everything that Prescott’s been through, but the path that he’s laid and the way he’s handled it can allow more players to pursue contracts that they are truly worth and speak out about mental health. Dak Prescott is now a poster boy for players battling the power of the NFL and the media, and there is nobody better to prove that he made the right decision for himself and turn around the way players’ injuries and decisions are covered in the media. Now, maybe we can see something that gives players a chance instead of immediately siding with teams and allowing players to be humans and talk about human issues.

References

Acho, E. [@EmmanuelAcho]. (2020, October 11). The opposite has been said, but this moment, Dak Prescott, the epitome, and the embodiment of leadership. You don’t cry[Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/EmmanuelAcho/status/1315422934102536193 

Aikman, T. [@TroyAikman]. (2020, October 11). Devastated for @dak- one of the truly great people in the NFL[Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/TroyAikman/status/1315423099207249922 

Al-Khateeb, Z. (2020, September 22). Hayden Hurst thanks Dak Prescott for speaking out on depression: ‘I’ve got a lot of respect for what you did.’ Sporting News. https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/hayden-hurst-dak-prescott-depression/82lsq51strzp1krk8w8w4c4tr 

Archer, T. (2020, October 11). Dak Prescott of Dallas Cowboys out of surgery for compound fracture, dislocation of right ankle. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/30094698/dak-prescott-dallas-cowboys-carted-field-ankle-injury

Barnwell, B. (2020, October 12). Dak Prescott ankle injury: Answering the biggest questions about the QB, the Cowboys, Andy Dalton and what’s next. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/30094522/dak-prescott-ankle-injury-answering-biggest-questions-qb-cowboys-andy-dalton-next

Blackburn, P. (2020, October 12). Dak Prescott injury: Patrick Mahomes, Troy Aikman, NFL players react to Cowboys QB being carted off of field. CBS Sports. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/dak-prescott-injury-patrick-mahomes-troy-aikman-nfl-players-react-to-cowboys-qb-being-carted-off-field/ 

Bonesteel, M. (2020, September 11). Skip Bayless condemned for saying Dak Prescott’s admission of depression was a sign of weakness. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/09/11/skip-bayless-dak-prescott-depression/ 

Brandt, A. (2020, October 13). Business of football: Dak Prescott’s injury won’t significantly hurt his career earnings. Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/nfl/2020/10/13/business-of-football-dak-prescott-injury-bill-obrien-fired 

Dungy, T. [@TonyDungy]. (2020, October 11). Blessing in disguise was a poor choice of words by me. It’s not a blessing for Dak. What I meant[Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/TonyDungy/status/1315454990383828997

Heck, J. (2020, October 12). Tony Dungy called Dak Prescott’s injury a ‘blessing in disguise’ for the Cowboys.  Sporting News. https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/tony-dungy-dak-prescott-injury-cowboys/1p7r7t3a97cy0101g4yymbyklz

Heyen, B. (2020, October 12). NFL deletes ‘can’t miss play’ highlight of Dak Prescott’s injury on official YouTube channel. Sporting News. https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/dak-prescott-injury-nfl-youtube-highlight/1p01mz3n8ridp1kjiwyuvty86p

Mahomes II, P. [@PatrickMahomes] (2020, October 11). Big time Prayers up man @dak !!!![Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/PatrickMahomes/status/1315421298953248768 

McSpadden, K. (2015, January 26). The NFL is finally on YouTube. TIME. https://time.com/3682108/nfl-national-football-league-youtube-google-super-bowl/#:~:text=The%20NFL%20YouTube%20channel%2C%20which,in%2Dgame%20highlights%20and%20recaps.&text=Under%20the%20deal%2C%20Google%20will,to%20the%20Wall%20Street%20Journal

Rosenberg, E. (2020, June 4). How YouTube ad revenue works. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/032615/how-youtube-ad-revenue-works.asp 

Sherman, R. [@rodger]. (2020, October 12). I found this last night and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Is it normal for leagues to[Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/rodger/status/1315657073049427970 

Watkins, C. (2020, September 9). Dak Prescott opens up about brother’s suicide, his own battles with depression in new interview. Dallas News. https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/cowboys/2020/09/09/dak-prescott-opens-up-about-brothers-suicide-his-own-battles-with-depression-in-new-interview/ 

Watt, J.J. [@JJWatt]. (2020, October 11). Feel so bad for Dak. Just brutal.[Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/JJWatt/status/1315421651639697408 

False Start: Week 2 NFL injuries derail exciting start to the season

By Griffin Olah

Griffin is a third-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey

September 29, 2020

The NFL is back like we’ve never seen it before. Gone are the days of packed stadiums. Now the players duke it out on the gridiron in an empty, cavernous structure to be projected across the nation. Gone are the days of preparation and intrigue, with preseason being eliminated, training camps closed to the public and the season starting. Leading up to and after Week 1, however, there was the same excitement across the nation as the NFL prepared its return and successfully delivered the same product we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing.

Week 2, however, took some of the excitement away from the new season and the return of the nation’s most popular sports league. Stars like Christian McCaffrey, Byron Jones, Michael Thomas and Jimmy Garoppolo all went down with injuries that will cost them multiple weeks of the season. Others, like Nick Bosa, Saquon Barkley, Anthony Barr and Malik Hooker will miss the season (J. Jones, 2020). Teams like the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants lost multiple key contributors to major injuries and will have a hard time in the rest of the season (Gagnon, 2020).

While the problem of injuries is pretty straight forward, the print coverage of it is quite dynamic and interesting. 

Aside from the basic reporting about what happened, who got hurt and how long they’ll be out, most writers are trying to figure out why. Why did so many players go down? Some point to the lack of a preseason and offseason training program due to Covid-19. Many believed that the sudden move from relaxed walk-through type practices into full games would contribute to soft-tissue injuries (K. Jones, 2020; Wilner, 2020). In fact, current NFLPA President and Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter wrote a letter to the NFL outlining the fact that after the 2011 NFL lockout and similarly shortened offseason, soft-tissue injuries like those seen in Week 2 increased by 25% (K. Jones, 2020). Obviously, there are not a lot of comparisons that can be made in this unique 2020 season, but a shortened 2011 is a good place to start. That sudden increase, from no contact to full contact, could result in an increase and has in the past (Wilner, 2020). 

Others, though, believe that explanation is not enough. They believe it is important to take into account the lack of major injuries in Week 1, which should have been even worse if the problem was conditioning. In addition, most of the injuries came on big hits and high contact plays, not in running or some other non-contact way (Tanier, 2020b). If conditioning, and in turn, Covid-19, was the main cause of these injuries, then why was the onslaught delayed? Why did we get through Week 1 relatively unscathed? And why were so many injuries because of violent tackles? Saquon Barkley was injured when he was tackled on the sideline. Nick Bosa was injured in an awkward block. Drew Lock was injured after being thrown violently on the ground in a sack. These can’t be ignored as we debate the effects of Covid-19 in sports.

Aside from the cause of the injuries, though, there is the coverage of them. Why is this week such a big deal as opposed to other major injury weeks in the past? Why is this different than the lengthy injury lists of preseason games? Well, fantasy football is a driving factor in that. As sports gambling becomes more and more normalized and legalized across the country, more traditional media outlets, such as USA Today and The New York Times, are covering fantasy sports, especially football. Instead of the focus on the team and the players’ health, the focus is now on “your cousin Carmine’s Metuchen Murder Hornets… us[ing] up all of their fantasy waiver points” (Tanier, 2020a, para. 11). This is a dangerous precedent to set. Yes, a lot of people are playing fantasy sports and care about their teams, but that cannot come before these players’ health and well-being. The media plays into that dangerous idea, and it needs to break free.

Week 2 was a wild week, filled with excitement and happiness, but also with injuries and sadness. The NFL is a dangerous league playing a violent sport, but the media needs to make sure they have the right ideas in mind while reporting on the results of that violence. Looking for causes and solutions is good, but focusing its coverage on the players driving fantasy sports instead of the defensive, special teams and role players that go down each week is not helping the problem. The media needs to break out of its gambling, fantasy-focused reporting and just focus on the facts and how to best report on the full story – and include all players in that reporting.

References

Gagnon, B. (2020, September 21). Injury-plagued week 2 shakes up the NFL: Who is impacted the most? Bleacher Report. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2909975-injury-plagued-week-2-shakes-up-the-nfl-who-is-impacted-the-most

Jones, J. (2020, September 20). Week 2 notes: Why brutal weekend for stars means preseason isn’t going anywhere. CBS Sports. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/week-2-notes-why-brutal-weekend-of-injuries-for-nfl-stars-means-preseason-isnt-going-anywhere/

Jones, K. (2020, September 20). Week 2 injuries threaten to reshape the NFL season. The Ringer. https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2020/9/20/21448020/week-2-injuries-nick-bosa-saquon-barkley-49ers

Tanier, M. (2020a, September 23). NFL injuries lead to hand-wringing, finger-pointing and confusion. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/23/sports/football/nfl-injuries-week-2.html

Tanier, M. (2020b, September 24). What’s next for the 49ers and other injury-riddled teams. Pro Football Network. https://www.profootballnetwork.com/nfl-injuries-week-2-2020/

Wilner, B. (2020, September 21). On football: Week 2 not for the weak as injuries hit NFL. The Associated Press. https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-denver-broncos-nfl-football-richard-sherman-d1a973318828f193ebf0a738912b87e7

What to Watch During (and after*) Quarantine

By Griffin Olah

Submitted: April 16, 2020/Published: June 2, 2020

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

[*Editor’s Note: With apologies to Griffin Olah and readers of Maxwell Media Watch, this insightful entry was submitted during a semester when everything suddenly went online. I should have published it earlier, but hopefully it still provides useful tips for media alternatives to live sporting events in the meantime. N. Spencer].

If you’re anything like me, you miss sports. With COVID-19 shutting down every sports league (we’ll ignore Dana White’s “fighting island”), I need something to quench my thirst for more sports. Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives that can get us all through quarantine while not spending a fortune.

One of the first things I discovered, with the help of Twitter, was the massive MLB library on YouTube. That’s right, Major League Baseball stores broadcasts on both its own YouTube channel, MLB, and on another, the MLB Vault (Langs et. al, 2020). This allows you to go back to see any memorable game in MLB history that has aired on television. Personally, I’ve enjoyed myself watching Game 7 of the 2016 World Series (the game ended with the rain delay), the 2017 Indians winning streak and the wildly entertaining 2019 Home Run Derby match-up between Joc Pederson and Vlad Guerrero Jr. There’s enough there to spend entire days watching baseball, and maybe you’ll even find some hidden gems that you forgot happened.

The NFL has a similar vault of games, but they house it in its own website, NFL Game Pass. Although it usually requires a subscription, the NFL made Game Pass free to all users through May 31, 2020 (NFL.com, 2020). Game Pass has an archive of all games played since the 2009 season, from preseason all the way through the playoffs and the Super Bowl. It also has access to many of NFL Network’s series, including A Football Life, America’s Game, SoundFX and more. I’ve spent a lot of time watching old Browns replays, including the 2018 game against the New York Jets that debuted Baker Mayfield, the 2009 game against the Chiefs that Jerome Harrison played out of his mind, and the America’s Game episode of the 2009 Saints. 

If you aren’t against spending money, however, the ever-popular ESPN+ might be for you. For only $5 a month, you can have access to a massive library of ESPN shows, replays and films. ESPN has streaming deals with many collegiate sports conferences, the NHL, UFC and boxing organizations, allowing many past games and competitions on their platform. I’ve spent hours in the 30 for 30 library and watching old UFC fights featuring Stipe Miocic. If you’re still bored and you want some non-sport action to watch, ESPN+ also can be bundled with Disney Plus and Hulu for $12.99 a month. 

If live action is what you’re craving, however, then eSports might fill that void for you. At the forefront of eSports is NASCAR, with its iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Using real drivers on iRacing, a platform most already use for practice, NASCAR is simulating the missed events of their season (Nicholson, 2020). The simulated races are also aired on Fox, so NASCAR fans can watch just like any other race.

Going along with eSports, the MLB has taken initiative with its MLB The Show Player’s League. Each team has selected one player to represent them through a series of three-inning games on the popular video game franchise (Toribio, 2020). Each player streams their games on their own Twitch page, which works similar to YouTube, so you can hear their commentary in real time. Cincinnati Red pitcher Amir Garrett and Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo have already proven to be both wildly entertaining to watch and incredibly good at the game. I’ve watched some highlights, and I’ll be tuning in whenever Garrett and Gallo take the virtual field again.

Finally, the NBA has attempted to offer another alternative with live action- a HORSE tournament. Current and former NBA and WNBA stars are pitted against each other in the classic basketball game in each of their home gyms (Gartland, 2020). While reception has mostly been negative, with many people claiming the games are too boring or citing internet problems, basketball fans may still be enjoyed. I haven’t tuned into any of the matchups, but if you’re starved for some basketball, it might be right for you. The competitions do air live on ESPN, so anyone interested in watching will have to tune in in real time.

Obviously, there is no true alternative to live sports action, but we can come close. Whether replays are your thing or not, there are tons of options to watch until we get sports back, whenever that may be. Until then, take a look through all of these services and find your favorite, or maybe find something new that’s not discussed here. Either way, good luck with filling your sports void and I hope these can get us all through until the return of sports.

References

Gartland, D. (2020, April 13). ESPN’s NBA HORSE competition was tough to watch. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from: https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2020/04/13/espn-nba-horse-tournament-highlights

Langs, S., Simon, A., Randhawa, M., & Catania, J. (2020, March 14). One classic game to watch online from each MLB team. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/classic-mlb-games-to-watch-online

NFL.com. (2020, March 18). NFL offers fans free access to NFL Game Pass. NFL.com. Retrieved from: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001106855/article/nfl-offers-fans-free-access-to-nfl-game-pass

Nicholson, J. (2020, March 18). NASCAR launches eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. eSports Insider. Retrieved from: https://esportsinsider.com/2020/03/enascar-iracing-pro-invitational-series/

Toribio, J. (2020, April 10). 30 stars to compete in ‘MLB The Show’ league. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/30-stars-compete-in-mlb-the-show-players-league

Seahawks look to replicate past success, bring back Lynch and Turbin

By Pershelle Rohrer

January 3, 2020

Pershelle Rohrer is a first-year BGSU student from Logan, Utah. She is a Sport Management major with a minor in Journalism. Her primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, both at the professional and collegiate levels.

The Seattle Seahawks brought back two familiar faces on December 23, 2019, signing running backs Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. The move comes after Seattle lost their top three running backs for the year due to various injuries, leaving rookie Travis Homer as the only active running back on the roster (Rost, 2019).

Lynch began his first stint with Seattle when he was acquired from the Buffalo Bills in 2010. He quickly became a “Seattle sports icon,” according to John Boyle (2019b, para. 6). Lynch played with the Seahawks from 2010 to 2015, helping the team to two Super Bowl appearances. He had four consecutive seasons in which he rushed for 1,200 or more yards (2011-14) and led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2013 and 2014. (Henderson, 2019). The five-time Pro Bowler retired briefly before returning to play for his hometown Oakland Raiders in 2017 and 2018 (Marek, 2019). 

Just three weeks ago, Lynch was handing out tequila shots to tailgating Raiders fans prior to the team’s final game before next season’s relocation to Las Vegas (Marek, 2019). Last Sunday, he was playing for an NFC West division title as the 11-4 Seahawks took on the 12-3 San Francisco 49ers (Alexander, 2019). He impressed in his return, rushing for 34 yards on 12 carries, including a 15-yard run, and leaping for a 1-yard touchdown in a 26-21 loss to the 49ers (Stecker, 2020).

Seahawks general manager John Schneider had discussions with Lynch about a return before the 2019 campaign, according to head coach Pete Carroll (Gustafson, 2019). In regard to his return to football after his year-long retirement, Lynch said, “At my age, this is a great opportunity to be able to come in and be able to help when needed, get in and do my little thing and get out, hopefully be able to help them go ahead and get to the Super Bowl that they should be playing for” (Boyle, 2019b, para. 7).

Lynch’s return to the NFL generated excitement throughout the NFL, as he was “entirely out of the NFL rumor mill in 2019” (Marek, 2019, para. 5). Andy Nesbitt (2019) wrote, “You have to believe that just his presence alone will pump up the team heading into a game that will decide the NFC West title” (para. 5). Brandon Gustafson (2019) said, “It’s clear fans of the team are excited about Lynch’s return” (para. 19). Julian Paredes (2019) described, “The jury’s still out on whether Lynch remains the dominant player he’d been for nearly a decade, but his return brings life to a team whose season was all but lost to injury” (para. 8).

NBA player Jamal Crawford, a Seattle native, and former Seahawks punter Jon Ryan expressed their excitement on Twitter:

Pete Carroll, referring to Lynch, said, “The circumstances rolled just at this time, and he could have four or five games left in him, maybe that’s what we need” (Boyle, 2019b, para. 5).

Just hours before the Lynch signing, Robert Turbin announced his return to Seattle on Instagram, posting a picture in front of his locker with the caption, “…Happy to be back HOME” (2019). 

Turbin was drafted in the fourth round by the Seahawks in 2012 and was part of the draft class that included seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson and six-time Pro Bowl linebacker and Turbin’s Utah State teammate Bobby Wagner (Boyle, 2019a). Turbin played alongside Wilson, Wagner, and Lynch from 2012 to 2014, rushing for 928 yards in 1,231 attempts (good for 4 yards per attempt) in 48 games for Seattle (Henderson, 2019). He also caught 43 passes for 427 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Seahawks during those three seasons (Dajani, 2019). Following his years in Seattle, Turbin played for the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, and Indianapolis Colts (Boyle, 2019b).

While the signing of Lynch is drawing more attention, an Associated Press article emphasized the importance of Turbin as both running backs prepared to play their first games in over a year. Lynch was not expected to handle an entire workload, and Turbin had the potential to take a significant number of snaps as a result. It was unknown at the time how the carries would be split between Turbin, Lynch, and Homer (“Robert Turbin the,” 2019). Turbin did not have any offensive snaps in Week 17 as Homer and Lynch split the workload (Stecker, 2020). However, that does not mean that he will not be a part of Seattle’s game plan as they head into the playoffs.

The Seahawks, who were third in the NFL in rushing yards per game this year heading into Week 17, found themselves “desperate for help at tailback” (Rost, 2019, para. 6) after they lost their top three running backs for the season. The injuries occurred over a fifteen-day span. Rashaad Penny tore his ACL in a Week 14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise suffered a fractured hip and a broken arm, respectively, in a Week 16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Carson rushed for over 1,000 yards for the second straight season and entered Week 16 as the NFL’s fourth leading rusher (“Seahawks officially bring,” 2019). 

The additions of Lynch and Turbin help the Seahawks rebuild their running game as they look to return to the Super Bowl for the first time in five years. The two running backs are “a backfield tandem blast from the franchise’s past” (“Seahawks officially bring,” 2019, para. 1), reminding fans of the back-to-back Super Bowl appearances that the team enjoyed in 2014 and 2015 (Gustafson, 2019). It remains to be seen how Lynch and Turbin impact the remainder of Seattle’s season, but an initial assessment after their first game gives a positive outlook for the Seahawks. Brent Stecker (2020) emphasizes the importance of a strong group of running backs, writing, “Suddenly that run game that has long been a trademark of Carroll’s Seahawks teams – the same one that was eroded away by injuries late in the regular season – looks to be back just in time for the playoffs” (para. 9).

The Seahawks (11-5) will play the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) on Sunday in a win-or-go-home matchup. Fourth-seeded Philadelphia comes into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak while Seattle has lost two straight games. The Seahawks were 7-1 on the road during the regular season and defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia, 17-9, on November 24th. Carson Wentz will be making his first career playoff start after missing Philadelphia’s successful Super Bowl run two years ago and last year’s playoffs due to injuries (Booth, 2020). Fifth-seed Seattle aims to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2015, and Lynch and Turbin could play important roles for the Seahawks as they start their playoff campaign on Sunday.

References

AdamSchefter. (2019, December 23). Beastmode officially is back in Seattle. Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks have an agreement, and Seattle has a new RB to line up against SF during Sunday night’s NFC-West-deciding showdown. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1209330496490094593?s=20

AdamSchefter. (2019, December 23). And so one day after the Seahawks lost Chris Carson to a fractured hip and C.J. Prosise to a broken arm, the Seahawks went retro RB and signed Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1209334252057366528?s=20

Alexander, M. (2019, December 24). Seahawks first-round bye chances take a hit, but they’re not dead yet. Field Gulls. Retrieved from https://www.fieldgulls.com/2019/12/24/21036818/seattle-seahawks-first-round-bye-chances-take-a-hit-nfl-playoff-scenarios-2019

Booth, T. (2020, January 2). Seahawks-Eagles preview. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved from https://sports.yahoo.com/pressure-nothing-eagles-prepare-seattle-200801255–nfl.html

Boyle, J. (2019a, December 17). Seahawks Russell Wilson & Bobby Wagner selected as starters for 2020 Pro Bowl. Seahawks.com. Retrieved from https://www.seahawks.com/news/seahawks-russell-wilson-bobby-wagner-selected-as-starters-for-2020-pro-bowl

Boyle, J. (2019b, December 24). Seahawks sign running backs Marshawn Lynch & Robert Turbin. Seahawks.com. Retrieved from https://www.seahawks.com/news/seahawks-sign-running-backs-marshawn-lynch-robert-turbin

Dajani, J. (2019, December 24). Seahawks bring back Robert Turbin, Marshawn Lynch after losing numerous running backs to injury. CBSSports.com. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/seahawks-reportedly-to-sign-robert-turbin-still-working-with-marshawn-lynch-on-deal/

Gustafson, B. (2019, December 27). Seahawks’ Pete Carroll explains how Marshawn Lynch returned to Seattle. 710 ESPN Seattle. Retrieved from https://sports.mynorthwest.com/740450/seahawks-pete-carroll-marshawn-lynch-seattle/

Henderson, B. (2019, December 23). Seahawks add RBs Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. ESPN.com.Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28362887/seahawks-add-rbs-marshawn-lynch-robert-turbin

JCrossover. (2019, December 23). Man, man, man.. My favorite player is BACK!!! @MoneyLynch back with the @Seahawks. Christmas came early!!!!! [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/JCrossover/status/1209337833640431616?s=20

JonRyan9. (2019, December 23). I hope my old #24 jersey still fits. #BeastMode [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/JonRyan9/status/1209291330435731456?s=20

Marek, G. (2019, December 24). Marshawn Lynch will face the 49ers on Sunday, 2 weeks after handing out shots at a Raiders tailgate. SFGate. Retrieved from https://www.sfgate.com/49ers/article/Marshawn-Lynch-Seahawks-49ers-Raiders-tailgate-14930215.php

mattschniedman. (2019, December 23). Marshawn Lynch was serving tequila shots at a parking lot tailgate in Oakland eight days ago for the Raiders’ last game there. Now he’s gonna start for the Seahawks in the playoffs. Legend. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/mattschneidman/status/1209170987905945600?s=20

Nesbitt, A. (2019, December 24). The NFL world reacts to Marshawn Lynch rejoining the Seahawks. USA Today. Retrieved from https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/12/seahawks-marshawn-lynch-agree-on-deal-beast-mode-is-back

Paredes, J. (2019, December 23). Beast mode: Marshawn Lynch officially returns to Seahawks. Q13 Fox.Retrieved from https://q13fox.com/2019/12/23/beast-mode-marshawn-lynch-officially-returns-to-seahawks/

robertjturbin. (2019, December 23). Never give up on God… He’ll never give up on you. Happy to be back HOME [Instagram post]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/B6b8bulnEud/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Robert Turbin the other part of the running back reunion in Seattle. (2019, December 27). Q13 Fox. Retrieved from https://q13fox.com/2019/12/27/robert-turbin-the-other-part-of-the-running-back-reunion-in-seattle/

Rost, S. (2019, December 24). The 3 questions: How much will Lynch’s return impact Seahawks?. 710 ESPN Seattle. Retrieved from https://sports.mynorthwest.com/739909/the-3-questions-how-much-will-lynchs-return-impact-seahawks/?

Seahawks officially bring back RBs Lynch, Turbin. (2019, December 24). Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved by https://sports.yahoo.com/seahawks-officially-bring-back-rbs-070730564.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAKL5VqT9VdSjNDgQOrUczx_Mt1NNG-U7_JKla5Fm5OaEKjUEQxkMG8yrZOxWTFRo-wpvyOPbE_XPJ8eN6mSoTDaSW4ECwu812VN0-OjD291w-U1aaEVbcyNi5qKPp9aec9Fw0RKaXims0QiMFyoCyR5Oo_KOlwXPQo37oIfUgpXe

Stecker, B. (2020, January 3). Seahawks’ run game ‘has some stature to it’ again thanks to Lynch, Homer. 710 ESPN Seattle. Retrieved from https://sports.mynorthwest.com/743669/seahawks-run-game-has-some-stature/

Baltimore is Built-For-More: Defending NFL Defenses

Image result for baltimore ravens defense

By Ben Kelley

December 2, 2019

Ben is a first-year undergraduate BGSU student from Uniontown, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a journalism minor. His primary interests include professional and collegiate football.

If you’ve ever played EA Sports’ Madden NFL 2005, then you might remember the video game’s selling point: the hit-stick. The “hit-stick” was a new feature that allowed you to force a heavy hit onto a ball-carrier by flicking the right stick of a video game controller. EA Sports had a simple reason for introducing the concept: in Madden NFL 2004, users were having trouble with stopping the electric dual-threat quarterback Michael Vick, and players needed a defensive counter. That counter would become the “hit-stick” (“Top 25 features in Madden,” 2013).

Ray Lewis, a former inside linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 2005. With Lewis and the hit-stick headlining the game, Madden NFL 2005 took on a defensive approach to virtual football gaming.

It’s now 2019, and quarterback turnover has become a common theme throughout the current NFL season. As the league approaches the fourteenth week of regular-season competition, eighty-six quarterbacks have attempted at least one pass during a game. Of those eighty-six quarterbacks, only sixteen have started twelve games this season. Out of those sixteen, only nine have winning records as starters (“NFL passing,” 2019). Five of those quarterbacks play for a team with a top-six defense in points allowed; four of those starters have a defense ranked in the top-four in points allowed (“NFL opposition & defensive statistics,” 2019).

One team with consistent quarterback play and a top defensive unit is the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens currently have the sixth-best defense and have compiled ten wins and only two losses. Their quarterback, Lamar Jackson, has statistically lit up the league this season. Jackson has thrown for 2,532 yards with a pass-completion percentage of 66.5%, with twenty-five passing touchdowns and only five interceptions in 2019 (“NFL passing,” 2019). In addition, Jackson has rushed for 977 yards and seven touchdowns this season (for comparison, Jackson is currently ranked eighth in rushing yards in the NFL) (“NFL rushing,” 2019).

Sports media has taken note of Lamar’s play in 2019. Sean Wagner-McGough (2019) of CBS Sports claims “Jackson is our MVP after 12 weeks” (para 2). Zach Frydenlaud (2019) of Complex not only thinks that Jackson has the MVP award wrapped up, but that Jackson “is the future of the league at QB” (para 6).

However, Baltimore’s defense deserves a share of the credit. Baltimore’s defense is currently ranked sixth in points allowed, and they’ve caused nineteen turnovers in 2019. Only New England, San Francisco, Buffalo, Minnesota, and Chicago sit ahead of the Ravens in points allowed, and each of these teams has a winning record. Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Dallas each sit behind Baltimore in points allowed, and each of those teams are at .500 or above. As a whole, the top nine defenses in points allowed all have a record at .500 or higher.

New England and San Francisco each own a record of 10-2, yet their quarterbacks are not playing at the highest of levels. Tom Brady currently holds the 21st best quarterback rating, and Jimmy Garoppolo holds the 10th best quarterback rating (“NFL passing,” 2019). Tennessee is on their second quarterback of the season, and they’re 7-5. Chicago’s quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, has a rating of 84.4 for 24th place, yet the Bears have a record of 6-5 (“NFL passing,” 2019). Pittsburgh is now relying on their third quarterback this season, yet the Steelers sit at seven wins and five losses.

While scrambling dual-threat quarterbacks may appear to be the future of the NFL, strong defensive play is making its case to be labeled as “the future of the NFL.” Each of the top nine defenses in points allowed this season have kept their teams in playoff contention, despite below-average quarterback play or turnover at the position. It’s as if we’re living in the world of Madden NFL 2005, and the “hit-stick” has made its appearance.

References

2019 NFL opposition & defensive statistics. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/opp.htm

2019 NFL passing. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/passing.htm

2019 NFL rushing. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/rushing.htm#rushing_and_receiving::rush_yds

2019 NFL standings & team stats. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/

Frydenlaud, Z. (2019, November 25). Lamar Jackson is not only the NFL MVP but the future of the league. Complex. Retrieved from https://www.complex.com/sports/2019/11/lamar-jackson-mvp-and-future

Top 25 features in Madden NFL history. (2013, August 2). EA Sports. Retrieved from https://www.easports.com/madden-nfl/news/2013/madden-football-history

Wagner-McGough, S. (2019, December 1). NFL MVP race, week 13: Lamar Jackson begins to pull away from Russell Wilson, Stephon Gilmore makes his debut. CBS Sports. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/nfl-mvp-race-week-13-lamar-jackson-begins-to-pull-away-from-russell-wilson-stephon-gilmore-makes-his-debut/

Myles Garrett fight overshadows rivalry victory for Cleveland Browns, leads to indefinite suspension

By Pershelle Rohrer

December 1, 2019

Pershelle Rohrer is a first-year BGSU student from Logan, Utah. She is a Sport Management major with a minor in Journalism. Her primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, both at the professional and collegiate levels.

The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-7 in the week 11 Thursday Night Football matchup on November 14. Baker Mayfield threw for two touchdowns and rushed for one in the victory, giving the Browns a record of 4-6 and putting them back in the playoff race. Cleveland’s win over Pittsburgh (5-5) should have been something to celebrate, as it was just their fourth win over their division rival in the past ten years (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019). However, a fight that broke out in the last eight seconds of the game overshadowed anything positive that happened in the Browns’ second straight win.

On the second to last snap of the game, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett brought down Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph well after Rudolph had completed a pass. Rudolph attempted to remove Garrett’s helmet, kicking him while they were still on the ground. Garrett then tore off Rudolph’s helmet and hit him on the top of the head with it when Rudolph followed him to retrieve it, causing the benches to clear. Garrett was ejected along with teammate Larry Ogunjobi, who shoved Rudolph to the ground just after the helmet incident, and Maurkice Pouncey, who then punched and kicked Garrett in retaliation. 

The NFL issued suspensions to all three ejected players. Garrett was suspended indefinitely with a minimum ban for the remainder of the season, Pouncey was given a three-game ban, and Ogunjobi sat out one week. All three players appealed their suspensions, and Pouncey’s was reduced to two games as a result, according to ESPN (“Myles Garrett’s indefinite,” 2019). Rudolph received a $50,000 fine for his actions, and both teams were fined $250,000 each.

Garrett was immediately criticized by the media, fans, and players alike. Troy Aikman, current Fox commentator and former NFL player, called Garrett’s actions “barbaric” (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019, para. 11). Reggie Bush (2019) tweeted that it “might have been the craziest thing I have seen on a football field!”

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said the incident would become “a soap opera on the outside much like the media has portrayed us to be for the whole season” (“Browns, Steelers brawl,” 2019, para. 13). The Browns have faced growing pains with a revamped roster in their first season under head coach Freddie Kitchens. The win against the Steelers was their second straight, but losing Garrett for the season could potentially hurt the Browns’ playoff chances as the defense has to make up for the loss of their star defender. 

Following the game, the media took turns speculating about the length of Garrett’s suspension. Many reporters and players called for a season-long ban, some suggesting that the suspension should go into the 2020 season as well. 

Prior to Garrett’s penalty, the longest suspension for a single on-field action was five games, awarded to Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth in 2006 for ripping Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode’s helmet off and stomping on his face (Trotter & Pryor, 2019). 

Garrett’s indefinite suspension makes a statement to the rest of the NFL, especially since Rudolph recently came off a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas in week 5 that knocked the quarterback unconscious (Seifert, 2019).

Garrett will have to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell before his reinstatement (Trotter & Pryor, 2019). By holding out one of the league’s stars for the rest of the season and potentially part of the next, the NFL is showing its decreased tolerance for fighting and the need to prevent incidents like this from occurring again.

The media calling for the lengthy suspension of Myles Garrett put pressure on the NFL to act. By issuing the longest suspension for a single on-field act in league history and later upholding the indefinite ban, the NFL demonstrates its power to discipline players for unsportsmanlike conduct, which it hopes to reduce in the future.

The Browns and Steelers met again on December 1 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

References

Browns, Steelers brawl at end of Cleveland’s 21-7 win. (2019, November 14). ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/recap?gameId=401128044

JForsett. (2019, November 15). I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrett misses the rest of this season and half of next. It’s an ugly situation, Mason could have suffered a life altering injury. Football is an emotional sport but that was something different. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/jforsett/status/1195215451657318400?s=21

JuiceCheck44. (2019, November 14). Myles Garrett should not be allowed to play another snap this season [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/juicecheck44/status/1195202767494598656?s=21

LRiddickESPN. (2019, November 14). Suspend him for the rest of the season. [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/lriddickespn/status/1195200614382346241?s=21

Myles Garrett’s indefinite ban upheld; Maurkice Pouncey now suspended 2 games. (2019, November 21). ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28131395/myles-garrett-indefinite-ban-upheld-maurkice-pouncey-now-suspended-2-games

Pryor, B. (2019, November 23). NFL fines Steelers QB Mason Rudolph $50,000 for role in fight. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28146654/nfl-fines-steelers-qb-mason-rudolph-50000-role-fight

ReggieBush. (2019, November 14). In all my life of football that might have been the craziest thing I have seen on a football field! They about to suspend Myles Garrett for 30 years! People getting stomped out, that was a hood fight! Hate to see that in our game that’s not what pro football is about! [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/reggiebush/status/1195202558643490816?s=21

Seifert, K. (2019, November 15). Myles Garrett suspension for Steelers-Browns fight: Why he deserves record punishment for helmet swing. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28083617/myles-garrett-suspension-steelers-browns-fight-why-deserves-record-punishment-helmet-swing

Trotter, J., & Pryor, B. (2019, November 15). Browns’ Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely; Steelers’ Maurkice Pouncey gets 3-game ban. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28087446/browns-myles-garrett-suspended-indefinitely-steelers-maurkice-pouncey-gets-3-game-ban

The Patriots Need to Protect Their Jewel(ian)

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By Ben Kelley

November 25, 2019

Ben is a first-year undergraduate BGSU student from Uniontown, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a journalism minor. His primary interests include professional and collegiate football.

The New England Patriots are desperate to get some sort of offensive consistency. Despite quarterback Tom Brady’s undisputed ability to throw the football, the Patriots have struggled to get players who can catch the football. The instability has meant that there’s a different set of receivers available to Brady each week, and the instability is seemingly growing.

At the beginning of the season, the Patriots lined up former Pro-Bowlers Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, and Julian Edelman at the wide receiver position. By Halloween, Brown and Gordon were cut, Thomas was traded, Mohamed Sanu was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons, and two undrafted rookie receivers – Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski – were being thrust onto the field. Receiver Philip Dorsett has offered consistency; however, he’s currently nursing a concussion while Sanu faces an ankle injury (Mason, 2019). Olszewski’s season has ended due to injury, and rookie N’Keal Harry was recently thrown into the mix (Cox, 2019). In short, only one wide receiver has been available to Brady each week – Julian Edelman. Edelman has capitalized on the opportunity, with 112 targets, 76 receptions, 809 receiving yards, 4 touchdown catches, one touchdown pass, and 15 passing yards in twelve games (“Julian Edelman,” 2019).

Antonio Brown, on the other hand, has only played one game in 2019. (“Antonio Brown,” 2019). His season has been engulfed with drama-infused antics – including sexual assault charges. The NFL swiftly hit Brown with an investigation, and after his release from New England, NFL teams have avoided signing Brown. However, Brown is showing optimism that the investigation is siding in his favor. On November 19th, Brown posted an apology on social media to the Patriots organization for the drama he brought to the team. By November 21st, rumors started swirling that the Patriots are doing their due diligence on Brown, with the team possibly exploring bringing back a much-needed familiar face (Williams, 2019).

Brown’s possible return is already being labeled as the answer to Tom Brady’s growing frustrations with the offensive struggles. Against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, the Patriots had to rely on field goals, a trick pass from Edelman, and a stout defense to win the game with a  score of 17-10. After the game, Brady kept his press conference short and concise, with the media claiming that the addition of generational talent Antonio Brown would clearly help ease Brady’s frustrations (Brinson, 2019). However, the possible addition of Brown should not be looked at as a move for the sake of Tom Brady. It should be viewed as an addition for the sake of Julian Edelman.

Edelman arguably needs Brown more than Brady does. Edelman is currently on pace for around 100 receptions this season, and at 33 years old, he needs some relief (“Julian Edelman,” 2019). Aside from Edelman’s heavy workload this year, he was also nursing a minor shoulder injury ahead of the Patriot’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys (Mason, 2019). If Edelman suffers a more serious injury, the Patriots would be forced to get creative with moving the ball down the field at a time when the team already struggles with doing so. A deep playoff run without Edelman’s skill set or experience would certainly hurt the Patriots and possibly frustrate Brady even further. Adding in Antonio Brown would help relieve the pressure being put on Edelman and give the Patriots – and the defenses they face – a second receiver to focus on.   

References

Antonio Brown. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BrowAn04.htm

Brinson, Will. (2019, November 19). Antonio Brown rumors: Everyone thinks WR coming back to Patriots after Brown apologizes to Robert Kraft. CBS Sports. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/antonio-brown-rumors-everyone-thinks-wr-coming-back-to-patriots-after-brown-apologizes-to-robert-kraft/

Cox, Z. (2019, November 19). NFL rumors: Patriots plan to place Gunner Olszewski on IR to add Isaiah Wynn. NESN. Retrieved from https://nesn.com/2019/11/nfl-rumors-patriots-expected-to-place-gunner-olszewski-on-ir-to-add-isaiah-wynn/

Julian Edelman. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/E/EdelJu00.htm

Mason, C. (2019, November 20). Julian Edelman returns to injury report, Phillip Dorsett and Mohamed Sanu didn’t participate in New England Patriots practice. Mass Live. Retrieved from https://www.masslive.com/patriots/2019/11/julian-edelman-returns-to-injury-report-phillip-dorsett-and-mohamed-sanu-didnt-participate-in-new-england-patriots-practice.html

Williams, C. (2019, November 21). Report: Patriots have “kicked the tires” on Antonio Brown. Pro Football Talk. Retrieved from https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/11/21/report-patriots-have-kicked-the-tires-on-antonio-brown/

The Miami Dolphins’ Approach to Team Building

By Ben Kelley

November 18, 2019

Ben is a first-year undergraduate BGSU student from Uniontown, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a journalism minor. His primary interests include professional and collegiate football.

Is there an approach to team-building synonymous with the 2016-2017 Cleveland Browns and the 2008 Detroit Lions? One might say ‘tanking’ and point to the historic amount of losses each team endured as part of a master plan to acquire higher draft picks. Higher draft picks usually equate to better players to choose from in the draft, and better players usually mean a championship squad. In 2008, the Lions would lose all sixteen of their games and were awarded with the first overall draft pick. The Browns used the same plan in 2016 and 2017, winning one game in two years and getting two first overall picks during that span.

With the 2019 Miami Dolphins showing an inability to remain competitive paired with a willingness to trade away talented players, sports media have pointed to the Dolphins as the most recent example of a team willing to ‘tank’ for future talent. One article makes no haste in proclaiming the tank: “The Dolphins organization is not trying to be a contender in 2019. Its goal all year has been to load up on cap space and draft picks in lieu of wins.” (Stites, 2019, para 3). Another article stresses the importance of a Dolphins’ loss to another winless team, the Washington Redskins: “We’re not going through this suffering to not get the first spot [of the 2020 NFL Draft]. Are we all in agreement that this loss must happen?” (Noa, 2019, para 2).

However, sports media is mislabeling the Dolphins intentions. The team is not trying to lose for the sake of draft picks – the Dolphins are trying to follow a blueprint that is not necessarily ‘tanking’ to build their championship core.

First, look no further than Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores. Flores’ resume includes four championship-winning seasons as a coach for the New England Patriots, including the 2018-2019 season where he served as the defensive play-caller (Brian Flores, 2019). With his success in New England, Flores knows what kind of a team is needed to win, and he will most likely try to implement New England’s winning culture in Miami.

Second, Miami currently has a young core of players, including cornerback Xavien Howard and quarterback Josh Rosen. Howard, who made the 2018 Pro Bowl as a Dolphin, was recently extended to the 2024 season on a $76.5 million contract (Stites, 2019). Rosen, a first-round pick in 2018, was acquired via trade before the season for a 2019 second-round draft pick (Stites, 2019). If the Dolphins are trying to throw their own games, then why would the team spend big money and draft capital for a Pro-Bowl cornerback and potential franchise quarterback?

While the Dolphins’ 2019 season looks like a classic example of tanking, the team is not aiming to lose as many games as possible. The team is making calculated decisions to build a championship team – and is giving out big contracts and trading draft assets to do so. The team’s young core of players has already won two games this season and could win a few more before the end of the season.

References

Brian Flores. (2019). Miami Dolphins. Retrieved from https://www.miamidolphins.com/team/coaches-roster/brian-flores

Noa, K. (2019, October 10). Quite possibly the most important game for the 2019 Dolphins. The Phinsider. Retrieved from https://www.thephinsider.com/2019/10/10/20908650/quite-possibly-the-most-important-game-for-the-2019-dolphins

Stites, A. (2019, September 29). How the Dolphins are tanking the 2019 season, in 3 steps. SBNation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2019/9/15/20861089/miami-dolphins-tanking-2019-draft-picks-cap-space


Low Expectations for Browns yet again- Playoff Chances Diminished or Rising

By Cole Kegley

October 13, 2019

Cole Kegley is a junior undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University, majoring in Sport Management and minoring in General Business. The Bucyrus, Ohio alumnus focuses on basketball and football, with an emphasis on collegiate and professional levels. 

Browns’ fans were left in worry and bewilderment when their franchise relocated, becoming the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. To the surprise of no one, joy filled Cleveland when their beloved Brownies were back in the city beginning in the 1999-2000 season, following a 3-year deactivation period. The dawg pound was alive and thriving. Though, to what degree? 

Since their return to the NFL 20 years ago, the Browns have been nothing short of a disappointment. Similarly, an exponential number of quarterbacks have taken the reigns since their homecoming in 1999- thirty to be exact (Kenyon, 2018). To make matters worse, only one Quarterback has played a full 16-game season in the past 20 years for Cleveland, Tim Couch.

Browns’ fans have struggled through the past twenty years, witnessing numerous roster changes, head coaches fired mid-year, draft pick busts, players leaving in the off-season, and many other that took a toll on the organization. However, the culture and stigma surrounding the Cleveland Browns has begun to change in the past two years. The media, players, and fans alike are beginning to gain a sense of respect for this new-look team. 

Draft picks including Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb, Baker Mayfield, and Myles Garrett are just part of the reason why the Browns are turning heads. Another reason: trades and off-season acquisitions including the likes of Pro Bowlers Jarvis Landry, Olivier Vernon, and future Hall of Famer Odell Beckham Jr. make the Cleveland Browns an exciting team to watch. However, many media members refuse to accept Cleveland’s recent changes and their view as merely the “Mistake by the Lake” remains prominent. 

Colin Cowherd is one of the more popular faces of sport media, and more specifically as of late, Baker Mayfield; he has gone so far as to say, “I will be shocked if Baker does not finish top 2 in the MVP (voting)” He was also quoted saying, “of course Baker has a shot, because Baker has a better story. This is what MVP’s have become” (Cowherd, 2019). 

Clearly, Cowherd thinks highly of Baker and his story since taking an 0-16 team to 7-8-1 while only starting 13 games and throwing the most passing touchdowns by a quarterback in NFL history. However, he does not want to commit to the Browns becoming a winning and respectable team. 

Fast forward to week 4 of the NFL season, and the 1-2 Cleveland Browns (with their only win coming against a Jets team missing their starting QB) were looking at the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens with a sense of urgency. Consequently, A mere 14% of NFL teams starting 1-3 have made the playoffs since 1990 (Clayton, 2016). 

ESPN broadcasters such as Max Kellerman and Dan Orlovsky voiced how the Browns were desperately striving to replicate the Sean McVay-Rams phenomenon but failing. This comparison could not be more irritating as the Browns’ head coach is 11 years older than Sean McVay, and the reasoning for McVay’s fame is his relative success at such a young age- 33 years old (Kellerman & Orlovsky, 2019). 

False analogies sway viewers to believe un-factual information which is simply not comparable. Similarly, these broadcasters along with others have prematurely written off Freddie Kitchens and the Browns following only a handful of games. 

So, what should NFL consumers believe? The star-stacked Browns with a 2nd year quarterback and 1st year head coach started off slowly, dropping their first game by a margin of 30. Since then, they are 2-1 and are now sitting atop the AFC North, which they have not won since their return to the NFL (Lukas, 2019). 

All things considered, the Cleveland Browns deserve to be respected by the media. Sports broadcasters across American seem eager to see the Browns lose, leaving them to reaffirm their doubts of the Browns being the same old team to viewers. In spite of this fact, the Browns have struggled to begin the season. Though to their defense, 2 of their losses have come at the hands of the 4-0 San Francisco 49ers, and the Los Angeles Rams, 2018 NFC Champions. 

Lastly, multiple defenders including star-studded talent such as Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, and Morgan Burnett have missed multiple games. All in all, playoffs are still intact for the Browns and hopes for success are still on the table, so do not be too quick to write off this team, as they are loaded with talent on offense and defense. 

References

Clayton, J. (2016, October 4). Ranking 1-3 NFL teams most likely to bounce back. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/insider/story/_/id/17708074/ranking-1-3-nfl-teams-most-likely-turn-2016-playoffs.

Cowherd, C. [The Herd with Colin Cowherd]. (2019, July 26). Baker Mayfield’s MVP odds are due to his story, Colin says to pay Dak before Zeke | NFL | THE HERD [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogHKc0zgmu4 

Kellerman, M. & Orlovsky, D. [ESPN]. (2019, September 24). Is Freddie Kitchens failing as the Browns head coach? | Get Up [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdkWLJhUXxU

Kenyon, D. (2018, May 10). Cleveland Browns Quarterbacks: Revisiting every starting QB since Tim Couch. Bleacher Report. Retrieved from https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2773955-cleveland-browns-quarterbacks-revisiting-every-starting-qb-since-tim-couch.

Lukas, M. (2019, October 1). Cleveland Browns, AFC North 1st place, say it aloud! Dawg Pound Daily. Retrieved from https://dawgpounddaily.com/2019/10/01/cleveland-browns-afc-north-1st-place-say-it-aloud/.